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What to do for Meth Addiction Recovery
Jun 6th, 2010 by Patrick

What are some strategies for meth addiction recovery?  What is the best way to get clean from meth?

There are a number of things that a meth addict might do in order to try to straighten their life out.  One thing they might try first is to go to some NA meetings.  This is not necessarily the best solution for everyone, but it is helpful for most, and it is also free (unless you donate to the meeting.  They are supported only by donations).

Just going to an NA meeting might be of help for a variety of reasons.  One, you might get clean and sober and stay that way forever.  This is the ideal outcome, of course.  But even if that does not happen, you still might get some benefit by being exposed to NA.  One thing you might do is to learn if you are really an addict or not.  Some people just like to abuse drugs, but can easily walk away from the and leave them alone when they really want to.

Jump


 photo credit: Barnaby K

However, most drug addicts stay stuck in denial for many years, telling themselves that they could quit, only if they really wanted to, and that they just don’t want to.  This is denial if:

1) The meth addict continues to run into more and more problems due to their drug use.

2) All of the friends and family member of the addict think that there is a real problem.

3) The addict keeps dealing with real consequences due to their drug use but continues to justify them and rationalize them away.  (The police just have it in for me, etc.)

Denial is simply failing to see the truth of the matter, which is that drugs are just no good for some people.  If you are constantly getting into trouble due to your drug use, then you probably have a serious problem.  If you cannot, or will not put the drugs down, even in the face of heavy consequences, then you are probably an addict.

If you find yourself in this position and you have tried to go to an NA meeting, you might also consider going to rehab.  Now keep in mind that most rehabs are just going to expose you to more 12 step meetings, but they also offer a lot more than just that.  You have to use what works for you in recovery and ditch the rest.  If 12 step meetings are not your thing, you can still get a lot of value out of going to drug rehab.

Recovery from meth addiction can start when you are in residential treatment, and you start learning about how to deal with life without self medicating all the time.  You can also learn how to have fun again without drugs or alcohol, though  this may take some time for you to really start living it.  You will also meet a support system in rehab that can help you to stay clean when you leave on the outside.  Maybe you will also meet up with a good therapist who you really connect with, and this could become a form of ongoing support.

Really the best thing is to simply keep an open mind when going in to treatment, and try to take everything in and just soak it all up.  You may be against certain ideas, but just watch them, observe them, let them wash over you and then form your own opinions.  No one has to become a 12 step meeting freak in recovery in order to stay clean necessarily.  You can find your own unique path in recovery, even if all the 12 step folks say that meetings are the only way.  They are not.  Your recovery can take many forms.

Meth Addiction Signs to Watch For
Jun 6th, 2010 by Patrick

Methamphetamine, commonly known as meth, is a highly-addictive stimulant that triggers the release of dopamine and norepinephrine from the brain. Made from readily-available substances such as battery acid, paint thinner, and over-the-counter cold medicines, meth releases twelve times the amount of these pleasurable neurotransmitters than sex. Luckily for those with observant loved ones, the meth addiction signs are all too clear when put together. Be vigilant for the following signs if you suspect meth abuse.

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 photo credit: b_ronphoto

Users may commit spur-of-the-moment crimes. The drug impairs judgment and increases agitation, so the user may be involved in altercations with strangers and loved ones alike. Burglaries and petty thefts could be signs an addict has run out of the drug and needs more money. Male and female users alike may also pay in sexual favors, turning to prostitution. 

Meth often robs the user of normal pleasure. Be aware of sudden disinterest in sex, fun hobbies, or spending time with friends. As the user slips further into the clutches of the drug, the brain’s supply of dopamine depletes, robbing these activities of all pleasure. Sexual partners of users may also notice that, while the user is able to perform, the encounter lasts for hours with no climax. The ability to orgasm can be lost completely with meth, as the brain’s neurotransmitters are too depleted to trigger a climax.

Obsessive behavior is also noted in individuals battling meth addiction. Compulsive hand-washing, cleaning, or over-grooming may occur. Sometimes, the user will repeat the same task over and over, or re-check their work many more times than necessary. This can also stray into self-harm as the user may pick or scratch at their skin until open sores develop. Meth users frequently report the sensation of bugs crawling under the skin, exacerbating this obsession.

Tooth decay, otherwise known as meth mouth, is caused by the poor hygiene of users, as well as a decrease in saliva production and nervous grinding of the teeth. On the same note, extreme body odor, lack of grooming, and a cavalier ignorance of their body’s condition also afflict users. Since meth also causes copious sweating, the smell quickly becomes overpowering if the user abandons hygiene.

Also be cognizant of the user’s mental state. They will often talk at length in rambling, disjointed rants. They may become easily confused or argumentative. Hallucinations of bugs, persecution, and being judged have all been reported with regularity. During withdrawal periods, an addict may sleep for long periods and become withdrawn. If help is not sought, depression can result. Withdrawal also leads the user to feel less intelligent and slow. They may think others are patronizing them, and lash out at those attempting to aid the addict in their recovery, leading the addict to relapse.

While pure meth has no odor, impurities may lead to a strong odor ranging from sickeningly-sweet to rotten eggs. Sometimes, what one would believe is the scent of meth may be the attempts of a paranoid smoker to mask the smell using air fresheners or burning hair or plastic. Not wishing to be caught smoking, addicts may also be fond of incense, scented candles, or heavy perfumes.

It is also important to note that meth is not always smoked. It can also be inserted into the anus or vagina for absorbtion, crushed and snorted, swallowed, or dissolved and injected. Be alert for needle tracks or frequent nosebleeds. 

If you believe your loved one may be using meth, please seek help right away through a drug counseling service or rehabilitation facility. Meth addiction is usually fatal within it’s first five to seven years. Don’t wait.

3 Warning Signs of Meth Addiction to Watch Out For
Jun 6th, 2010 by Patrick

Here are 3 warning signs of meth addiction that you should watch out for:

1) Physical appearance – this is the big one that you should watch out for.  The person will obviously lose weight, but they might also do other things to tip you off, such as to be unkempt, unshaven, and so on.  They will stop taking care of themselves and the big warning sign is deterioration in the teeth.  You might also watch out for any burn marks on the skin or even on the clothing.  Burnt lips are particularly common too for those who are smoking meth (or crack cocaine possibly).

Essence of Creativity


 photo credit: Antanith

2) Personality change – the meth addict may become hyperactive, or they might do the opposite and withdrawal from people entirely.  Watch for sudden mood swings that cannot really be explained by anything else.  They might become loud and obnoxious due to the meth use, and they also might lose all motivation for achieving anything decent in life.  So watch out for these possibilities.

3) Relationship changes – if they just started using drugs then they will likely be doing this with other people, friends that they have not known for very long.  They might also suddenly discard old friends or family relationships that they once found to be important to them, but are not anymore.  If they are suddenly hanging out with an entirely new crowd of people, then you know something must be going on.

These are the 3 basic warning signs, but of course there are some other things you might watch out for as well.  For example, one is money.  If the person is suddenly broke all the time, or asking to borrow money over and over again, then you know something might be wrong.  Another big one is school or education…if they are suddenly quitting school, dropping out, missing classes, and so on.  Same goes for work, etc.

So what can you do if you see these warning signs of addiction?  The obvious thing to do right off the bat is to confront the person and tell them that you are gravely concerned about them and you cannot even sleep at night because you worry so much for their welfare and that you think something is wrong.  If you cannot get them to confess their drug use then you might tell them flat out that you think they are on drugs, and you want to see them get help.

One thing you might do if you already have it pretty much confirmed that they are on some sort of drugs is to call a drug rehab center in advance and see what the options are.   You might be able to find out at least what it would take to get the person into treatment, what it would cost, if insurance would cover it, and so on.  You might also get an idea of when you can bring someone in or if they need to schedule in advance and so on.  You may not get all the answers you are looking for but you can probably at least get some guidance and direction by talking with some local drug rehab centers.

You can also declare that you will not be a part of their addiction and that you will only support them if they choose to get help.  Tell them that if they want to get help, you will do whatever you can to assist them.  But if they want to keep using, then you would rather just keep your distance from them.  This is knowns as setting healthy boundaries, and will help the addict to see that they are isolating themselves due to their drug use.

Help for Meth Addiction – Treatment Options for Recovery
Jun 6th, 2010 by Patrick

What is the best way to get help for meth addiction?  What are the best treatment options for recovery in this case?

Well like with any drug, your best bet is going to start out with going to inpatient rehab.  This is almost always the best choice for nearly any addict who is trying to get clean and sober.  The reason for this is because an inpatient drug rehab has the most resources available to help you with your drug addiction.  For example, they usually have 12 step meetings, but also counseling, therapists, group therapy, and so on.  They might also be able to refer you to outpatient treatment or to long term rehab if that is deemed necessary.  So going to an inpatient treatment center can be much more than just having a few weeks locked up without any drugs.  You can have real opportunities there to make real progress with your recovery and set yourself up for success when you leave.

Not Even Once


 photo credit: Nathan Jongewaard

Meth addiction in particular can be a bit tricky because you do not necessarily have to detox someone for meth.  Most rehab centers will actually not put you in the detox ward when you get to rehab, but instead just have you start attending groups right away.  Why is  this?  Because there are only very minimal physical withdrawal symptoms from a meth user, whereas other drugs can have much more intense withdrawal symptoms.  In fact, many drugs can actually be dangerous to come off of but Meth is one that is completely safe to stop using cold turkey, even with no medical supervision.

Why does this make it tricky?  Well in part, quitting meth is extremely easy, because there is no withdrawal from it.  So any meth user can just put it down with no major problems.  This is a good thing, right?

Wrong.  The fact that meth is easy to put down makes it that much easier to pick it back up again.  Meth addicts know that there is no real penalty when they quit cold turkey, so it is much easier to justify a relapse than it is with other drugs.

For example, take a heroin addict who is on the brink of relapse.  They know that if they shoot up again, that eventually, they will have to go through the withdrawal process from heroin, and they know how incredibly uncomfortable that will make them feel.  So the heroin addict has real incentive to stay clean and sober, because they know how miserable the detox process is.

The meth user has no such incentive.  Even alcoholics have a bit of built in insurance when it comes to this, because alcohol withdrawal is no walk in the park either, and can be quite miserable.  In fact, alcohol withdrawal is generally one of the most dangerous detoxes out there, and can be fatal if it is not properly supervised.

So give meth the proper respect it deserves in being a very difficult drug addiction to overcome.  Just because the withdrawal is quite minimal does not mean that you should not take the treatment for this drug seriously.  Residential treatment is still probably the best idea in most cases and some meth addicts will even opt for long term rehab.  Long term treatment makes a lot of sense actually, because meth is more of a lifestyle drug, and it can take quite a bit of structure and disruption to overcome those old habits.  Many meth addicts are more addicted to the lifestyle that meth use brings along with it than they are to the drug itself.  The late nights, the week long binges, the partying….it is all part of the total package that the drug addict tends to glorify in their minds.  Overcoming this lifestyle element is best done with long term rehab.

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